Our Programs

crisis response team

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The Crisis Response Team (CRT) operates our 24/7 bilingual Crisis Response Line, which is an action oriented hotline for first responders. Victims in crisis are referred to the Response Line via police officers, hospital personnel, or other community partners.

After a referral has been made, the CRT can provide the following emergency services:

  • Emergency shelter placement in a hotel or in our SAFE Space Crisis Shelter;

  • Taxi/Transportation to a safe location;

  • Lock changes to secure a victim’s home;

  • Access to the Emergency Temporary Protection Order process;

  • Safety planning;

  • Information about the legal system and other resources available;

  • In-person crisis advocacy as needed; and

  • Next day follow-up from a DC SAFE Advocate.

CRT Advocates also conduct regular ride-alongs with Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers to ensure sensitive response to domestic violence calls and appropriate referrals.  Response Line Advocates can also assist MPD officers and detectives by answering questions about victim resources, protection orders, and other legal options for domestic violence victims.

supportive advocacy team

Supportive Advocacy Team (SAT) members are essential personnel at the city’s two Domestic Violence Intake Centers (DVIC), providing comprehensive court based advocacy services to nearly 4,000 clients per year. SAT Advocates are a foundational link to further support for survivors navigating the aftermath of a crisis.

Some of the services they provide include:

  • Guidance through the Civil Protection Order process;

  • Referrals to a pro bono attorney;

  • Court preparation and accompaniment;

  • Social service referrals for mental health services, housing, and more;

  • Safety planning;

  • Assistance with public benefits;

  • Basic needs support (e.g., grocery cards, diapers, toiletries); and

  • Assistance with any other portion of the court or social services system.

Supportive Advocacy Services are provided in close collaboration with our DVIC partners including the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the Metropolitan Police Department, the Office of the Attorney General, Ramona’s Way, DC Superior Court, The Legal Aid Society for the District of Columbia, and the Center for Child and Family Support’s Victim Services Center.  

While at a DVIC, victims can also file a police report, speak with a Victim Witness Specialist from the US Attorney’s Office about an open criminal case, and make an appointment for counseling services with our partner referral agencies.

safe space crisis shelter

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SAFE Space is the only crisis housing program in the District of Columbia that offers 24/7 immediate placements for survivors of domestic violence. SAFE Space is a low-barrier, short-term program designed to help survivors and families stabilize and begin the process of healing.

Some features of the SAFE Space program include:

  • Housing in a confidential apartment-style unit is offered for up to 20 days;

  • Units are fully furnished and equipped with basic necessities for a family immediately following a crisis;

  • The program can accommodate large and diverse family make-ups;

  • The property is secured by a key-in gate and cameras, and a security guard is present outside of staff office hours;

  • DC SAFE Advocates are on site 7 days/week to assist clients with next steps in housing, healthcare, the legal system, and more;

  • A counselor from The Women’s Center offers on-site group and individual therapy to SAFE Space clients;

  • Transportation can be provided from SAFE Space to a Domestic Violence Intake Center or another necessary location;

  • DC SAFE Advocates work with clients to pursue long-term housing options, including mainstream affordable housing resources and specific domestic violence housing programs;

  • Basic items such as food, toiletries, towels, and more are provided as needed during a client’s stay.

Our SAFE Space team works seamlessly with our other programs and coordinates with members of the Domestic Violence Housing Continuum in DC, as well as other specialized housing providers such as Community Family Life Services to find long-term placements for survivors after SAFE Space.

lethality assessment project

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After a series of domestic violence homicides in 2009 in which multiple city agencies and non-profit organizations had previous contact with the victims without meaningful intervention to prevent lethal violence, the District of Columbia partnered with DC SAFE to create the Lethality Assessment Project (LAP) to assess survivors for their risk of serious re-assault or homicide at the hands of an intimate partner.  

Our Lethality Assessment Project (LAP) is now a foundational component of our work across all of our programs, and is a central part of the District’s response to domestic violence. Through the LAP, we assess all clients for their level of risk, and then triage our services for those at the highest risk of re-assault or homicide. We then work with a network of over a dozen LAP partners to ensure expedited and enhanced services across city-wide systems for survivors at high risk..

In assessing clients for risk, we utilize a validated danger assessment tool that was created with Dr. Jacqueline Campbell of Johns Hopkins University and the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence. Dr. Jacqueline Campbell was the originator of Danger Assessments in 1986. Her research demonstrates that not only are certain behavioral factors indicative of more dangerous situations, but also that victims who are identified as being at high risk who participate in LAP programs are more likely to stay safe. Some of the risk factors in our assessment include past death threats against the survivor, a partner’s employment status, and a partner’s access to a gun.

DC SAFE has a team of dedicated LAP Advocates who work in coordination with other DC SAFE Advocates to ensure that high risk clients are getting what they need. LAP Advocates are often liaisons between clients and partner agencies, working to ensure that information is accurately shared with the survivor’s permission and coordinated interventions are occurring without barriers. LAP partners are able to provide various services for clients. For instance, the DC Housing Authority can provide emergency housing transfers, the Department of Behavioral Health can offer expedited psychiatric appointments, and the Metropolitan Police Department can provide increased patrol around a victim’s residence or workplace. For a full list of LAP partners, please click here.